With Memorial Day remembrances and celebrations behind us, the official start of summer has arrived. While I enjoy our beautiful campus's more relaxed pace and quieter environment during the summer sessions, I already miss our students and the vitality they add to our surroundings.
May has been a whirlwind of activity on campus. I appreciate our employees' remarkable energy and dedication, who contributed to making Commencement Weekend a success. We welcomed our graduates, their families, and friends as we celebrated their academic achievements. Holding four ceremonies in 24 hours was a significant undertaking, and the joyful smiles from the attendees were well worth it. Congratulations again to all our graduates!
I was thrilled to be at Cooper Field this past Saturday when our baseball team won the NCAA Super Regionals. A stunning 11-6 victory over Seton Hill propelled our team to a fourth NCAA Division II Baseball Championship trip. Congratulations to Coach Shehan and our student-athletes for this impressive outcome. Our best wishes for continued success in Cary, NC.
Congratulations to our graduating senior, Hannah Woelfling, for being our newest NCAA Champion. Competing at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships, Woelfling pulled off a stunning victory in the discus against the top 20 competitors in Division II for the first NCAA outdoor championship win in this sport in our University's history. You can read more about our spring sports in this edition of my monthly newsletter. You can also learn more about a new grant program for individuals seeking to complete their degrees. Finally, we have stories about a Millersville student working as an intern at Warner Bros., our latest Newman Civic Fellow, and our 2023 Educator of the Year, Dr. Deborah Tamakloe, from the College of Education and Human Services.
Enjoy your summer break, relax and take advantage of this lovely spring weather.
'VILLE RECEIVES GRANT TO FUND DEGREE COMPLETERS
People who started their college degree but had to stop for life reasons and now would like to complete their program may be eligible for help thanks to a recent grant from the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board. Millersville University will receive $189,914 as a partner of the ACHIEVE project.
"Partnering with LCWDB and ACHIEVE will allow the University to address the inequities that students who must stop out of their degree program face, including higher unemployment and lower wages," explained Dr. James Delle, dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Associate Provost for Academic Administration. "This grant will allow those students to finish their degrees and enter into the workforce with stronger support."
The purpose of the grant is to help jobseekers re-enroll in educational programs through the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board Board's ACHIEVE project. ACHIEVE is designed to assist Pennsylvanians who began studying in higher education for in-demand fields but had to withdraw after two or three years.
The PA Department of Labor and Industry awarded more than $6 million in grant funding to four local workforce development boards in the state.
As part of the ACHIEVE project, the University is partnering with the LCWDB, the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce, PA CareerLink of Lancaster County, Elizabethtown College, and the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design. ACHIEVE ultimately seeks to help students return to higher education through various rapid credentialing strategies, including online and asynchronous accessibility and a network of support, including case management and career guidance.
From the University's portion, $140,714 will be allocated to tuition assistance and cost of education support (such as textbooks or childcare costs) for about 15 returning students, provided outside of other financial aid.
The funding can be used to assist eligible students in any program, but outreach will primarily focus on recruiting students returning to complete their bachelor's degree in social work, bachelor's degree in education or associate degree in applied technology. There is a need in the community for these fields, and through the grant, students can earn their degrees and enter the workforce quickly.
Tuition assistance will also be available for students pursuing online degrees and certifications, including in the programs previously listed, which offer online courses.
"Combined with the robust student success network already in place at the University, the ACHIEVE grant will help returning students complete their programs efficiently and, in turn, provide Lancaster County with workforce-ready graduates," says Delle.
To be eligible for the grant, students who withdrew from their program after May 2021 (two years ago or less) must be able to reenter their program and complete their degree by June 2024. This means the grant is recommended for students with around 30 or fewer credits left to complete their degrees. Students do not have to have previously attended Millersville University but must have previous credits from any accredited university.
'VILLE STUDENT JOINS WARNER BROS AS INTERN
Millersville University Media Arts Production student, Georgea Hall, sets her sights on the Big Apple as she prepares for her summer internship with Warner Bros. Discovery.
Hall credits her mom with finding the internship. "She's like my number one supporter," says Hall. "It was an application for a Video Production Internship, and so I applied through the internship portal,” says Hall.
Hall applied internally through the Warner Bros. Discovery Website in March, and it took a month for the search committee to respond to her application. "I received an email that was an invitation to a hire view - a one-sided interview platform where they give you the link, and you can do it any time. Basically, a question pops up, and there is a two-minute countdown, and you proceed to answer the question," says Hall.
Hall had her formal interview with Warner Bros. Discovery in April. The night of the interview she received an email asking if she was available for a phone call with a recruiting manager. "Tthey called me and offered me the position, says Hall."
Even though Hall is considered a Warner Bros. Discovery intern, she was hired by The Cable News Network to be their Audio Production Intern, Hall will be tasked with many behind-the-scenes duties, especially about the CNN podcasts. She will track engagement, look at the analytics, and brainstorm ideas within the team.
"Warner Bros. is huge on collaboration, and that is one of the most important things to me. I could have a good idea, but it won't be great until I bounce it off other people's ideas. Seeing that aspect was a big drawing card for me, says Hall."
Hall has been collaborating on a Hyper Talkative podcast with fellow Millersville Media Arts Production student Ruby Mundok.
Hall's internship will run June 5 - Aug. 18.
Warner Bros. Discovery is a massive media industry with well-known platforms such as HBO and HBO Max, CNN, and numerous sub-companies. "Just to be even a small little intern in a place like that is a dream come true," says Hall.
DR. DEBORAH TAMAKLOE NAMED EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR
Dr. Deborah Tamakloe is now part of a prestigious group of Millersville faculty. The associate professor of special education was recently named Educator of the Year, the only campus-wide award for educator excellence at the University.
The Educator of the Year award is given annually to one faculty or staff member who demonstrates outstanding teaching in all its forms, including counseling, mentoring and advisement. The committee for the award receives a group of nominations and applications and determines the winner based on three categories: behavior/actions, disposition and influence.
Tamakloe was presented the award at the undergraduate ceremony for the College of Education and Human Services. Tamakloe's educational achievements, which contributed to her Educator of the Year status, were described during an address by Dr. Kelly Banna, associate professor of psychology.
"The individual (Tamakloe) who has been chosen by their peers as the Educator of the Year for the current academic year has been instrumental in co-founding a new Action Research Conference for student teachers to showcase research conducted in their classrooms," explained Banna.
"Being honored at commencement brought me joy knowing that my little efforts have made positive impacts on my students' lives and the field of education as a whole," says Tamakloe. "It also comes with a sense of responsibility to continue striving for excellence in my teaching practices and serving as a role model for my children who were present."
Additionally, Tamakloe actively involves students in opportunities outside of the classroom, including a trip with 14 students and a colleague to learn about the Regio Emilia educational approach in Italy. She also organizes an Assistive Technology Conference, where she guides students and colleagues to design low-tech assistive technology that they donate to the IU-13.
"Being named Educator of the Year is an honor," says Tamakloe. "It has evoked mixed feelings for me – a sense of humility, accomplishment and validation for the hard work and dedication I put into teaching and mentoring students."
"Being an educator means walking side by side with my students, learning from them as much as they learn from me, while we all strive to become what is 'essential.' To me, the recognition from colleagues, administration, students, and the community is a mark of respect and appreciation, so I thank them," Tamakloe concludes. "I dedicate this award to my students and the whole MU community. Let's all strive to be EPPIIC."
SNORKELING AND LEARNING IN HONDURAS
Snorkeling and scuba diving will be all in a day's work for a select group of students taking "Coral Reef Ecology" this summer. Taught by Dr. Dominique Didier, professor of biology at Millersville University, the students began their course at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station in Virginia for a week, and then they will travel to Roatan, Honduras for two weeks, where they can see the coral reefs in person.
"We'll be scuba diving, completing independent projects, and actually putting our learning to work in the field and learning new skills for observing and studying coral reefs," explains Didier. "It's a pretty packed course experience, but we'll come away with a thorough knowledge of coral reef ecology."
While in Virginia, the students attended classes and lectures to learn more about coral reef systems, including foundations of ecology, the biodiversity of coral reefs and understanding how to identify coral reef organisms effectively. The students also learned on-location by visiting Assateague National Seashore and Chincoteague Island.
Didier explains that the CBFS provides a convenient space for PASSHE students to meet and experience field-related opportunities together. The students enrolled in the course currently come from Millersville University, East Stroudsburg University, Kutztown University and Virginia Commonwealth University. This is the first time a Millersville University faculty member has had the opportunity to teach this specific course.
After a week at the field station, the class then travels to Honduras, studying reefs that are part of the second largest barrier reef system in the world, the Mesoamerican barrier reef. While in Honduras, the students' primary course work will include scuba diving almost every day, with other course highlights including snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and even an optional dive to see sharks. The students will keep their own field notebooks to record organisms they identify, notes about the dive and any other interesting observations they make.
"[Honduras] offers an opportunity to see some unique habitats, and it's also heavily protected, so they're some of the best reefs in the Caribbean," Didier says. "We'll see good examples of healthy reefs and healthy reef systems down in Honduras."
"We're all certified divers, but I haven't been diving in a couple of years," says Millersville student Alyssa Lutz. "I’m really excited to go diving and, while we’re at it, also learn a lot of important skills to use in the field.”
“It’s going to be fun and a very valuable learning experience at the same time, and we get to go study coral reefs which are a super diverse habitat that we don’t get to see around here. It’s really exciting overall,” she adds.
Didier shares the excitement with her students and explains that while the course has a lot of content, her students are doing the necessary work. “I am super proud of this group. They’re rising to the challenge and will be super ready when we get to Honduras.”
NEWMAN CIVIC FELLOW MAKING MOST OF OPPORTUNITIES
Senior manufacturing engineering technology major Jordan Branch grew up in Virginia, where his parents divorced when he was six, and he failed English in the 7th grade. At this point, the newly appointed Newman Civic Fellow learned his first lesson of accountability. To progress to the 8th grade, he was forced to attend summer school, but his father declined to cover the expenses. Undeterred, Branch took matters into his own hands and embarked on a venture to sell candy to pay for his own summer school. It is this type of perseverance that would help Branch, he says.
Upon graduating high school, Branch moved to North Dakota and enrolled in Bismarck State College. He didn't stay long and found an opportunity to transfer to Millersville University. Since coming to the University, Branch has become vice president of the National Society of Black Engineers, vice president of the American Society of Safety Professionals and vice president of the Construction Club. In addition to being a two-time recipient of the Dalton Smart Humanitarian Award, he recently received the Newman Civic Fellowship Award.
Dr. Len Litowitz, professor and department chair of applied engineering, safety & technology at Millersville University, nominated him for the award.
Given by Campus Compact, the Newman Civic Fellowship Award recognizes and supports community-committed students who represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. Named for Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, the award is a one-year fellowship experience that supports personal, professional and civic development.
"I think it's important to be a part of this fellowship because I can be a role model for the next generation and show them that you can do anything that you want to do no matter where you come from," says Branch.
In the fall semester, Branch organized a coat drive where he collected over 250 coats and donated them to the Food Hub.
Jordan has a short-term goal of graduating and becoming an engineer. He hopes to earn enough money to one day build a high-tech high school in Richmond, Virginia. This school would provide hands-on training, be interactive and focus on preparing students for higher education and careers in engineering.
For more information about the Newman Civic Fellowship Award, visit: Newman Civic Fellow.
Marauders baseball is advancing to the NCAA Division II championships in Cary, NC, following their exciting victory over Seton Hill in the Super Regional. On the road to their Super Regional outcome, they persevered in an exciting win over West Chester during the NCAA Regional at Cooper Field. After being one run behind for four innings, Millersville scored three runs in the eighth, finishing 6-4. The Marauders won four games in a row against West Chester for the first time since 2013.
This win comes after another successful season, with the baseball team's current record at an impressive 43-8, placing the team first in the PSAC East Conference.
Other season highlights include The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association naming coach Jon Shehan the region's Coach of the Year. This is the second time Shehan has been recognized with this title.
The NCBWA also named senior Bren Taylor the Atlantic Region Player of the Year. Taylor led in the Atlantic region with a .415 batting average, and an accomplished season with 51 runs, 19 steals, 15 doubles, four triples and four home runs.
Women's Track and Field
Millersville thrower Hannah Woelfing solidified her status as one of the most decorated athletes in Millersville's history by becoming an NCAA Champion with her season-best discus throw of 167-0. Her performance at the Division II Championships in Pueblo, Colorado, was a fitting end to Woelfling's career as a Marauder. She graduated in May as a four-time All-American, national runner-up in the hammer throw, national champion in the discus and seven-time PSAC champ.
Also at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Millersville University sophomore Darian Hauf made history, becoming the first Marauder pole vault to score an All-America finish. Hauf placed in a tie for 12th, which earned her All-America Second Team status.
Five members of the Millersville University women's track and field team were named All-Atlantic Region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association this year. Maddy Downs (discus), Darian Hauf (pole vault), Cassie Sharrow (hammer), Abbey Sullivan (3,000-meter steeplechase) and Hannah Woelfling (shot put, discus, hammer) were all honored with the title.
Millersville University's Bobby Lugiano was honored among 11 other golfers as a part of the NCAA Division II PING All-Atlantic Region. It's the first all-region honor for junior Lugiano, whose stroke average of 74.48 ranks fifth in Millersville's program history.
Lugiano led the way for the Marauder's successful season, with the team qualifying for the NCAA Super Regional for the first time since 2013. At the tournament, Lugiano tied for 23rd. Other key golfers include Ty Morral who placed 18th, and sophomore Noah Keener who tied for 33rd place. The team made a strong comeback during the last day of the tournament, jumping up to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Atlantic/East Super Regional.
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